Northcote by-election preview

A union-commissioned poll finds the Greens falling short in their bid for the Labor-held inner Melbourne seat.

The ABC reports that a CFMEU-commissioned poll has Labor leading the Greens 54-46 in Northcote, the inner Melbourne state seat where a by-election is to be held tomorrow after the death of Labor incumbent Fiona Richardson. After excluding the 9.6% undecided, the primary votes are 41.8% for Labor’s Clare Burns, 36.9% for Greens candidate Lidia Thorpe, 6.3% for the Liberal Democrats, 4.9% for the Animal Justice Party and 10.1% combined for the eight independents. Labor is favoured by the how-to-vote cards of the Liberal Democrats, Laura Chipp, low-profile independent Phil Cooper and, curiously, the Animal Justice Party. The Greens are favoured only by independents, including former Darebin mayor Vince Fontana, anarchist activist and the lesser-known (to me at least) Brian Sanaghan, Nevena Spirovska and Russell Hayward.

Beyond that, my Northcote by-election page offers an overview of the situation. Tune in from 6pm tomorrow for live coverage of the count.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

15 comments on “Northcote by-election preview”

  1. Its getting very willing in Northcote. See this being letterboxed.

    Its Greens material in Northcote attacking Labor factions and that Clare Burns is aligned to Somyurek. As one Labor guy on twitter has mentioned “Authorised by the Greens but doesn’t carry Greens branding. Written by people who’ve actually been active members of the Greens for years, but you wouldn’t know that by reading the letter.”

  2. No one seems to have reported on the fact that one of the indie candidates is Nevena Spirovska, who used to be a Sex Party candidate. No idea why she broke with them (she doesn’t even mention them on her own candidate page), but she preferences the Greens ahead of Labor, unlike Sex party/Reason who have Laura Chipp as their candidate. See all the HTV cards here (scroll down to candidate profiles).

  3. Animal Justice Party have been conducting a vendetta with the Greens in ACT for years over kangaroo culling – news that they are referencing against the Greens is not surprising

  4. Bleargh, smear campaigns about internal factional stuff is not cool (and something the NSW Greens should be aware of more than most).

    Also branding really needs to include a requirement including on who’s behalf it’s done (if anyones) rather than just who did it more like TV ads have. If the Northcote Greens authorised this their name should be on there.

  5. The internal working of parties effect public policy and who holds public office and are therefore things the electorate is entitled to know about and anybody who knows about is entitled to inform the public.

    There is no law against individual members of parties campaigning against other candidates.

  6. Not, there isn’t (and shouldn’t be). Which is why branding / authorisation should state if it is on behalf of a Party / Candidate or if it’s people acting independently.

  7. Doug

    Isn’t that an ACT issue? In Prahran and Kooyong they preferenced the Greens. However, Labor going after puppy farms recently would have earned brownie points from Animal Justice.

  8. I was simply observing that the AJP in the ACT had demonstrated a willingness to shoot up parties ideologically close to them and I would not be surprised to see the same behaviour by the party in referencing decisions elsewhere.

    In the ACT what was potentially at stake was the slight possibility of knocking over a Liberal Senator – even that prospect was not of interest compared to their wrath with the Greens over kangaroos

  9. I spoke to someone who was was distributing HTV cards in a Higgins booth. She was doing it for her aunt, who was running and didn’t have a big team of distributors. I think they’re very close knit and be able to make a decision on a local level. That being said, judging by the family that was distributing for that candidate in particular, her aunt could have been running for Labor or the Greens, and they would have done the same thing.


    The Andrews’ government has done a back room deal with the Animal Justice Party in a bid to secure a Labor victory in Saturday’s crunch byelection in Northcote.

    Animal Justice confirmed on Friday it had agreed to direct preferences to Labor in return for more than $500,000 of taxpayer-funded spending on the micro party’s favoured causes.

    Preferences could be decisive in the vote and Labor has brokered a separate deal with another minor party, the Liberal Democrats, who will also direct preferences away from the ALP’s Greens opponents.

    The arrangement will see ALP volunteers distribute the Liberal Democrats how-to-vote cards at polling places on Saturday.

  11. How extraordinary…..Labor volunteers supporting the Liberal Democrat candidate in Northcote!! Is this a sign of desperation on the part of the Victorian Labor party as they see their long held grip on inner Melbourne seats slowly slipping away to the Greens? It sure looks like that to me. The Liberal Democrats only Senator is not happy with our existing gun control laws…..I assume this is an expression of his libertarian philosophy, but not one that I think sits at all well with the Labor party…..but then when it comes to winning elections…..principles can be disregarded to cling to power it seems…

  12. As for the CFMEU opinion poll in Northcote…..we are not told the size of the poll sample…..if it was a robo call to landline phones, it will lack serious credibility due to the large numbers of voters who no longer have a landline but rely on mobile phones. In the listing of the minor candidates you omitted the name of serial anarchist independent Joseph Toscano and probably more significantly former Labor councilor and mayor Vince Fontana – who presumably is a well known figure in the electorate – and running as an independent (and using traditional Liberal blue coloured leaflets) may pick up a slice of the “orphan” 16% regular Liberal vote. Fontana has put the Greens ahead of Labor and if he picks up 5-7% of the vote this will make the outcome much closer than this is predicted by the trade union polling. Further, the Greens candidate will benefit from her position on the ballot – just behind the first two candidates (who are also both preferencing the Greens ahead of Labor) and gain a couple of per cent with the “donkey vote”. I would not be surprised if the Liberal Democrat and that of the Reason party candidate is less than predicted. The punters at Sportsbet don’t rate the former as gaining much traction and the latter trails behind Fontana in the betting odds.

  13. I think the CFMEU should ask for their money back from their polling company…..they were up the creek with their estimate of the primary voting in Northcote……or maybe the poll was designed to try and bolster the battered morale of the Labor volunteers and supporters as the signs of an end to a 90 year Labor reign became more apparent…………and Sportsbest gamblers who put slightly more money on Labor winning in Northcote will be licking their wounds today as well……..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *